Sunday, 8 May 2011

Covered Markets of Olde England - Huddersfield Queensgate!

Hello! Huddersfield Queensgate Market is one of yer actual bona-fide buildings of architectural merit, with a roof made of 21 distinct hyperbolic paraboloid parts, and a series of relief panels outside designed by artist Fritz Steller. Overall it's a pretty impressive place, and given that the photographs aren't exactly of the first order, there isn't much scope for the usual facetious comments. I'll try my best with the slim pickings at hand.

Here are the relief panels and a nice bit of landscape gardening. I particularly like the rustic looking man trotting by like a frisky Lippizaner stallion - there's none of that in Castle Market. Place like this make people happy!

After World War Two ended, Robert Capa spent a lot of time in Yorkshire, taking action pictures of covered markets. Here he is accompanying a crack couple of middle aged people past the fruit and veg store. You really get a feel of what it was like there - the smell of concrete and cabbages, the chirp of sparrows that have got trapped inside. On a serious note, just look at that roof. Bluewater doesn't have anything as bold or well-designed.

Sadly, due to an error in the processing lab, Capa lost most of his Queensgate pictures and so we have to end with this tantalising view of John Lewis's Bookstall. THE John Lewis's? I'm not sure but it looks ace, although I will forever be tantalised by the Wiltex sign. The suffix '-ex' suggests a modern and durable man-made fibre: the prefix 'Wilt' suggests the smell that will arise from your armpits after a hot days shopping in late sixties Huddersfield.

If you want to know more about Queensgate, and see what it's like now, go to Huddersfield Gem.

If you want to look round a mind-melting eighties shopping centre or go for a black and white ramble through a provincial English town of the sixties, come back here in a bit. And an additional thanks for the response to the Eighties Grandparents - I think the hauntological community has adopted Grandad Le Mesurier as something of an icon. It's all been rather lovely. Mind how you go!


  1. I'll be willing to bet the trusty spirit level had several outings during the construction of this building.

  2. and gallons of shuttering release agent!

  3. These pictures dont half make me feel homesick. In the background of the top picture is the factory where my dad worked. The market is really sparsely filled these days which is a shame. It still has the Merrie England though, which is great - originated in the 70s, its a medieval-themed cafe of which there are about six branches in Hudds. A great contrast to the brutalist architecture of the interior of the market hall.

  4. nice photos ..thanks for sharing this one..